Am I a Universalist?
This is one question I am currently wrestling with God.
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
1 Corinthians 15
“So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one the many will be made righteous.”
“For it was the good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
So the question is:
Do we interpret away the ALL in these passages to be SOME – only those who make a decision?
“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Or do we interpret the opposing scripture through these universalism ones?
“so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of the Father.”
“For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they were judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to God”
1 Peter 4:6
I don’t think that the manipulation of scripture for either side can totally convince me one way or the other. So I must rely on whom I see God to be. Is he the vengeful God who needs to be appeased through a blood sacrifice and only those who, while alive, call out to him are relieved from an eternity of torture and damnation. Or is he a God of Love that is not willing that any should perish?
I am not as of yet committed to the doctrine of universalism though I hope it’s true, and even pray that it’s true. I cannot imagine any one hoping or praying that the reverse is true. And if I, and evil human that I am, could not wish the modern concept of hell even on one such as Hitler, how much more so a loving Father in heaven? (Luke 11:13)
I do believe that regardless of which version is the TRUTH, all will be judged and some will be punished. The question is what is the extent of the punishment? Eternal? Or pertaining to an age? (both of which is valid interpretations for the greek word AIÓNIOS). I also believe that universalism does not diminish the need of preching the gospel of Christ and of the Kingdom of God. For too long the emphasis of our preching has been of “a kingdom to come” not “thy kingdom come”. We are to join with Christ to proclaim release to the captives, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. The gospel of Christ is not a personal gospel nor is it a social gospel. It is both and more. We need to care less for the after life and care more for peace and justise for the here and now.